A SOLDIER from Doncaster who lost both legs in a Iraq bomb blast has again been chosen to race for a disabled ski team.
Sgt Mick Brennan, of the Royal Signals, has been on the team since it was founded in 2008 and is a member of the Great Britain Disabled Ski Team.
Selection for the Combined Services Disabled Ski Team means he will have another gruelling winter of training and racing, his sights set on World Cup qualification.
Mick, aged 31, was serving in Iraq in 2005 when he lost both legs in an explosion caused by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.
While undergoing rehabilitation he had the opportunity to go skiing through Battle Back, an initiative that offers adventurous training opportunities to injured service personnel.
Mick said: “I’d never skied before and I had a really good time. With the CSDST starting up the same year it all fell into place and it kind of went from there.
“Getting injured your life changes and you have to find something else to make life worth getting up for. Once you’re up and about and on the snow you’re like everyone else, and in some cases better. You’re independent.”
Despite being a regular in the team, Mick says he is taking nothing for granted.
“Some of the guys starting up now are a lot better than I was when I started and in three or four years they’ll be right at the top of the sport.
“I’m having to pick my game up. It’s good having different abilities on the squad. It brings everyone on. They keep you looking over your shoulder. I had some time out last season so I lost ranking points but by the end of this season I want to qualify for world cup status.”
The next Winter Paralympics will be hosted by Russia in 2014 and several of the CSDST members are aiming for paralympic qualification.
“The CSDST is working in tandem with the British squad,” said Mick.
“We’ll be going to most of their training events. I did the world championships last year and I know what I need to do to get to the next level and the level after that so I’ll just see what happens.
“Everyone’s dream is to get to the podium. You have to evaluate what you want to do with your life because training for the Paralympics is another four years out of your life.”
Mick, a former pupil of North Boarder School at Bircotes, is due to leave the Army this December.
He said: “I knew it was coming and to be honest for the last two or three years I’ve been a full-time athlete, training in the gym and skiing five or six months a year, so my life isn’t really going to change that much.
“But it’s an expensive sport and I’m going to need to start getting sponsorship and doing things for myself. Getting sponsorship is my next goal; it will make a big difference.”
Lt Col Mike Quaile, deputy chairman of the CSDST said: “It gives them confidence and reminds them they’re able to compete with the rest of society. They’re a shining example of what can be achieved.”